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Robert C. Wirka, MD - Division of Cardiology

Robert C. Wirka, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Contact Information


McAllister Heart Institute, UNC School of Medicine, Division of Cardiology:
3312B Medical Biomolecular Research Building, 111 Mason Farm Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7126


Robert C. Wirka, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Areas of Interest

Genetics/Genomics, Cell Biology, General Cardiology.


I am a physician-scientist who uses human genetics to uncover new mechanisms driving coronary artery disease (CAD). As a cardiologist, I see the devastation this disease continues to cause, despite our current therapies. This has motivated me to study the molecular drivers of this disease, with the goal of identifying new therapeutic targets that can reduce the burden of CAD. By studying how the genomes of patients with CAD differ from healthy people, scientists have identified signals in the human genome that point to the most critical genes and pathways driving CAD. Starting with these genetic signals, my lab 1) identifies the genes underlying these signals, 2) studies how these genes affect coronary artery biology during disease, using mouse models and human vascular samples, 3) identifies the molecular pathways affected and 4) determines how these pathways converge, like spokes on a wheel, to the central drivers of CAD. By prioritizing the study of genes and pathways we know are the most critical in driving clinical CAD, we have the best chance at developing effective therapies to mitigate this devastating disease.

  • Undergraduate

    University of Wisconsin

  • Medical School

    Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University

  • Residency

    University of California, San Francisco

  • Cardiology Fellowship

    Stanford University

  • Post-doc Fellowship

    Stanford University